Heat Riders: Raptor Migration in Full Swing

Posted By Wolf Ridge Naturalist
October 6, 2014


This morning I woke up to the sight of swirling silhouettes in the sky. Called “kettles” for their likeness to the appearance of rising steam from a kettle, these groups of migrating raptors (sometimes hundreds together at once!) are riding the currents of a thermal updraft in order to conserve strength and gain altitude as they move South for the winter. Large numbers of migratory birds who spend summers in the Boreal Forest are funneled along the North Shore in order to avoid long landless distances across Lake Superior. As a result, we are graced with eagles, falcons, harriers, vultures, and accipiters (to name just a few raptor genus) at Wolf Ridge this time of year. Keep your eye to the sky during this unique season as these fierce and graceful birds make their winter migration.

– Hanna Hemmelgarn

Photo of Broad-winged Hawks in a kettle is from stokesbirdingblog